Chelsea finally fulfil the dream of Roman Abramovic by winning the Champions League. While heads must roll, Mikel Obi seems to have survived the purge.
After winning the Champions League for the first time in their history, Chelsea are prepared to take a look into the future by bringing in new players.
It also means that some players, who played roles in winning the trophy, will have to go.
Already, names are being speculated with the likes of Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard, Salomon Kalou and Florent Malouda being mentioned. Mikel Obi, the club’s Nigerian defensive midfielder, who has not scored a Premier League goal after six years at the club, could be one of the big boys in the new-look Chelsea.
It took the London club 50 years to win a second Premier League trophy and it happened two years after Roman Abrahmovic took over the club in 2003.
Apart from the huge money he spent to strengthen the team, coach Jose Mourinho was the real magic man who made it happen in 2005 as they added the Premier League trophy to the one they last won in 1955.
But that would not be enough as Abrahmovic chased the Champions League. In the pursuit of the once elusive trophy, he sacked Mourinho and even Avram Grant, the man who took them to the final of the 2008 edition, where they lost to Manchester United.
To satisfy his thirst and drink from Europe’s most respected club trophy, the billionaire owner once became the scout and coach, bringing in the likes of Andriy Shevchenko, which was one of the reasons Mourinho fell out with him. While the players are lavished with huge pay package, there is no guarantee of space in the club. With the confirmation that some of the players will have to leave, it is also a confirmation that Abrahmovic rules his world as he wishes.
On Thursday, the English media reported that Jose Bosingwa and Salomon Kalou will be shown the way out of the club while the futures of Frank Lampard, Michael Essien, Paulo Ferreira and Florent Malouda remain uncertain.
Lampard is a faithful servant whose work rate has never been faulted. He had a difficult relationship with the last coach Andre Villas-Boas, who was bent on changing the order at the club. After the coach left in March, he regained his freedom and played in his preferred role under interim coach Roberto di Matteo.
But at 33, the club may consider the relevance of the deputy captain insignificant. And with 29-year-old eccentric Raul Meireles becoming more influential in the middle of the pack, Chelsea may have discovered an alternative to their playing pattern. Chelsea have time to build a new team as they are not under pressure to impress anyone in the next few seasons, so an experiment without Lampard could lead to a bright future.
In his four years with Chelsea, Bosingwa was never considered a real deal to be called true Blue. But he did play his part in ensuring Chelsea won the Champions League, standing strong in central midfield position when he replaced Gary Cahill against Barcelona at Camp Nou and keeping Franck Ribery under check in the final against Bayern Munich. His departure was confirmed by Chelsea on Thursday.
Chelsea’s decision to let Kalou leave was a delayed one. He was on the verge of joining Arsenal last January before a late decision made the deal fall through.